We’re going to have to wait a few more months for an upturn in housing prices. Down 5.9 percent through the second quarter of this year, home prices will decline an additional 3.6 percent until the middle of next year before they recover 2.4 percent from the second half 2012 through the first half 2013.
That’s what Fiserv’s crystal ball says about the year to come.
The double-dip in home prices that started in 2010 continued to take home prices lower this spring and summer. Single-family home prices dropped 5.9 percent in 2011 second quarter compared to a year ago, according to the national Fiserv Case-Shiller home price indexes. Prices fell in 340 out of 384 metro areas, with 302 metros hitting new home price lows. Fiserv projects that home prices across the U.S. will decline another 3.6 percent by the second quarter of 2012, before rising by 2.4 percent by the second quarter of 2013.
“Housing affordability has improved dramatically because of declines in both prices and mortgage interest rates,” said David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv. “The monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced single-family home is now $700, compared to $1,140 in 2006 – a decline of nearly 40 percent. Nationally, purchase mortgage payments now account for only 13 percent of monthly median family income, the lowest percentage on record (since 1971), and compared to 23 percent in the first quarter of 2006.”
Stiff blames weak demand for the anemic forecast. “Although homes have become much less expensive, housing demand remains depressed with existing home sales back to 1998 levels, averaging 4.3 million units per year since June. Many households cannot finance first-time or trade-up home purchases to take advantage of lower home prices because of much stricter mortgage lending standards. But even households with access to mortgage credit are hesitant to buy homes while job growth is weak and consumer confidence is low.”
Stiff pointed to several factors that can help the market find a bottom and begin a gradual and cautious recovery. “If economic growth picks up in the second half of 2011, then home prices should stabilize early next year. New housing construction is at an all-time low and inventories of foreclosed properties are starting to shrink. Lower levels of housing supply and more steady demand next year will reduce downward pressure on prices. As homebuyers become more confident, many who are sitting on the sidelines will begin to enter the market and prices will start to increase. But we should not expect a rapid rebound in home prices. Very large inventories of foreclosed properties must be liquidated and absorbed before the healthy functioning of housing markets is restored.”
“Potential buyers must be convinced that the economic recovery is back on track and that the double-dip in home prices is nearly over before housing demand will begin to rise,” Stiff concluded.
Other highlights from the latest Fiserv Case-Shiller Indices:
- Prices dropped by double-digits in 30 metro areas, while 25 metro areas had small price increases of 1 percent or more.
- Between 2011 second quarter and 2012 second quarter, prices are projected to rise by double digits in only two metros (Madera-Chowchilla, Calif. and Carson City, Nev.) and decline by double digits in 16 metro areas (Naples-Marco Island, Fla.; Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.; Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla.; Salinas, Calif.; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla.; Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.; Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD; Merced, Calif.; Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Ocean City, N.J.; Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz.; Palm Coast, Fla.)
- Projections for the 2012 second quarter to 2013 second quarter period, illustrate why the housing market is poised to stabilize next year: home prices in 372 of the 384 markets are projected to rise in that time period, with only 12 markets expected to experience declines.
- California and Florida have borne the brunt of the worst declines in home prices. Of the 33 markets where homes have lost at least 50 percent of their value since peak, 28 are in the Sunshine and Golden States.
- In markets with the largest home price bubbles and crashes, improvements in housing affordability have been even larger. For example, the ratio of monthly mortgage payment to family income dropped from 32 percent (2006:Q1) to 11 percent in Las Vegas, from 42 percent (2007:Q1) to 19 percent in Miami, and from 59 percent (2007:Q2) to 27 percent in Los Angeles.